Akwaba means welcome and the Ivorians live it. Today, Veronique had to go to Abidjan so after playing some good hoops this afternoon I went out to get some dinner. I decided to take it "emporter" or to go and I went to one of my favorite spots. I hadn't been there for a bit and the madame asked me where I had been. I said sorry. I ordered the food and a beer while I waited. There was a large group of people there too who seemed to be having a lot of fun.
Before I knew it one of the men from the group asked me to join them. I said no thanks I was just getting some food to go. He insisted for one beer. I said okay. That became two beers and then red wine.
They were there for a wedding celebration and I suddenly became the guest of honor. They brought in dinner which was lamb and vegetables and they insisted that I sit at the head of the table and they served me first. And then they served me again and they gave me the bone (my Grandpa would have loved that). The red wine flowed again and again--they insisted. They were so happy to have me there and it was their wedding celebration. Unbelievable and very humbling. At one point, we talked about the attacks and he said it was great that I was still in Bassam. I said, "Je suis Bassam."
Other than a few trips home or to my grand-parents I have never been made to feel so welcome anywhere. As I have posted in the past, I could have announced that I was going to live the rest of my life with them and they would have been beyond happy. In fact, I kept telling them that I needed to go and they insisted I stay for just a little more red wine or birthday cake.
I gave a speech, sang happy birthday to one of the guests, drank a lot of wine, and ate great food. I was dazzled by the hospitality. What an honor. Then one of the men said to me, "Why don't you start a society here?" I laughed.
John Doces. Je vous écris de la Côte-d'Ivoire en Afrique.